Hello, Internet! Some of you may remember in the build up to the Cetus Finalis release, the announcement of a giveaway contest. One lucky writer would be chosen to receive a dual autographed copy of Cetus Finalis (signed by myself and the cover artist, Lucie Hall.) I am pleased to say that the winner has been chosen. His story, a short fiction about himself, a travelling companion, and a massive cetacean, cinched the judging with its oblique wit.
This whale tale was written by Oregonian Steven Joiner, a former director at Idealist.org, and I’ll stop there because his resume is longer than a silent movie. His online hub is www.stevenjoiner.com, and it worth a click-over. Steven sent in this story featuring a whale, but added a consistently creative twist that I could not resist. I will leave the rest to you, but enjoy the play, and places.
Steven recently received his dual autographed copy of Cetus Finalis, and was kind enough to send in a photo, all the while representing his favorite team, the San Francisco Giants. Cooler than autumn, I say. Thank you, Steve!
Without further ado, I present you with the winning story of the Cetus Finalis short story giveaway, the illustrious Steven Joiner’s original work, Sans Juan In The San Juans!
(Note: All location links were included by the author.)
Sans Juan in the San Juans: A Pacific Northwest Whale of a Tale
This is the tail of what should have been a lovely day on the water paddling amidst the islands of the Puget Sound. Despite my protests, I agreed to meet my friend Juan at Point Defiance Park. I was running late as I’d stopped on the way Tacoma my hair but wasn’t worried as Juan’s always Vashonably late.
We met and set out for what we thought Whidbey a lovely day. Paddling north, we wended our way among the ferries and cargo ships bound for the island betwixt the US and Canada. Which Juans you ask? The San Juans of course.
After a short but meaningless delay near Point No Point Lighthouse it became oddly silent as we traversed Mutiny Bay. We were definitely feeling the flow passing Fort Ebey and even offered to pick up a couple under-aged passengers heading for Minor Island.
Cresting a frothing wave, we unexpectedly found ourselves dropping onto the back of an Atlantic gray whale. As we braced for impact, we did not have the luxury of settling into our cognitive dissonance to consider, a) they were extinct and b) we were off the Pacific Ocean.
Juan cried out, “Lord, if this is to be our finalis moment, please cetus next to you in heaven!”
The impact jolted me out of my seat, my either and my oar flying from my hands. The whale dove and our boat slapping the water with the force of a bug hitting a windshield, frothy whirls of shard and splinter.
The current turned me in time to see the broken back half of our boat, still afloat. Juan, legs splayed, baleen out water with his safety vest. From his temple, a stream of blood.
“Juan! Water you doing?!? You have a vested interest in jumping!”
The dulled eyes that rose to survey me told me how this tale would end. With slurping speed, Juan, still baleen, and the boat disappeared into the breach.
And that is how I ended up floating, awaiting rescue, in the San Juans sans Juan.